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Undercover Animal Rights Activist Arrested for Animal Cruelty

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 25, 2013 1:58 PM

A Colorado animal rights activist faces an animal cruelty charge after she filmed undercover footage of alleged cattle abuse -- but apparently waited too long to report it.

Taylor Radig, who's associated with the Compassion Over Killing animal rights group, was ironically arrested and charged with animal cruelty after her undercover video was received by sheriff's deputies, Denver's KMGH-TV reports.

How did the animal abuse hunter become the hunted?

Colorado Law Punishes Negligence

In a press release by the Weld County Sheriff's Office, authorities verified that Radig had filmed the alleged animal abuses at the cattle company but that "representatives of Compassion Over Killing" were the ones who turned over the footage to law enforcement earlier this month.

Unfortunately for Radig, Colorado law includes "negligence" as one of the elements of animal cruelty, which local law enforcement believe was satisfied when Radig failed to report the abuse in a "timely manner."

A person can receive some immunity for reporting animal cruelty to law enforcement or the Colorado Bureau of Animal Protection, but this immunity only applies to civil suits, not criminal charges.

Radig is alleged to have worked at the Quanah Cattle Company for around three months while she was filming the supposed abuse; the footage didn't reach sheriff's investigators until two months after Radig quit. The implication seems to be that her filming was more about promoting Compassion Over Killing than about saving cows.

Radig, Animal Rights Group Fight Back

In an email to The Coloradoan, Compassion Over Killing's executive director, Erica Meier, claimed that the charge was "unsupported by the law," and that "[m]erely witnessing others abusing animals is not a crime."

The group also claimed that Radig was "working cooperatively with local authorities" before she was charged with animal cruelty.

But the investigation continues into Radig's involvement at the cattle company, including the possibility that she participated in the illegal treatment of cattle.

Remember, in any sting operation, no one is immunized from breaking the law or soliciting criminal activity -- not even law enforcement. Radig may have known this before entering the devil-may-care world of undercover farm filming.

Although the local prosecutor has discretion to drop the charges against her, for now, Radig's legal battle rages on.

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